2015 college football rule changes

Those struggles for loose footballs could get even more interesting during the 2015 college football season as the result of changes implemented by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

A 15-yard unsportsmanlike foul will be called on players who push or pull opponents off piles of players. This happens a lot during fumbles, as well as when the action gets close to the goal line. Expect more penalties because a loose football is a precious commodity.blowwhistle

According to the NCAA, other rules changes include:

• An eight-person officiating system will be allowed if a conference or school chooses. A center judge was used experimentally in several conferences during the past two seasons. The benefits of having the extra official include getting the ball spotted more efficiently and detecting holding and hands-to-the-face penalties. The ACC went to eight officials last season.

• A 15-yard unsportsmanlike foul will be called on players who push or pull opponents off piles — for example, after fumbles.

• If a helmet comes off a defensive player in the final minute of a half, 10 seconds will be run off the game clock, and the play clock will be set at 40 seconds. Previously, the play clock was set to 25 seconds.

• Officials will return to giving teams an initial sideline warning when personnel move out of the designated team bench area.

• Officials will treat illegal equipment issues — such as jerseys tucked under the shoulder pads or exposed back pads — by making the player leave the field for at least one play. The equipment must be corrected for the player to return to the game. The player may remain in the game if his team takes a timeout to correct the equipment issue.

• Instant replay reviews will be allowed to see if a kicking team player blocked the receiving team before the ball traveled 10 yards on onside-kick plays.

• Teams must be provided at least 22 minutes prior to kickoff for pregame warm-ups. Teams may mutually agree to shorten this time period.

• If the play clock runs to 25 seconds before the ball is ready for play, officials will reset the clock to 40 seconds. Previously, the play clock was reset when it reached 20 seconds.

• Non-standard/overbuilt facemasks will be prohibited, based on research findings of the National Football League.

For the first time this season, the ACC will have medical staff from each team in the press box to monitor possible injuries, staying  in touch with their respective coaches.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.